Our Secret Territory: The Essence of Storytelling

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Sentient Publications, 2011 - Performing Arts - 186 pages
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This book is composed of revelations from the life of a world famous storyteller including extensive travel and projects spanning thirty years. It helps readers understand the power of storytelling as a profound and unique art form combining modern solo theatre, spoken literature, spirituality, and direct oral tradition akin to ancient ritual. The book is shaped with stories and poems and a remarkable fairytale that weaves in and out of a life of experiences: rescuing ex-child soldiers from a devastating war; working with epic singers, Native American storytellers and Tibetan meditation masters; designing a playground; telling tales to Roma mothers and children; and saving a zoo in Northern Romania. This is a unique combination of personal story, myth, memoir, and fairytales that will interest anyone involved in storytelling as performance; those using narrative in healing, business, or education; peacemakers and humanitarians; writers; anyone seeking a deeper spiritual practice; and those hoping to understand the psychology of personal memoir, myth and symbol, the importance of anthropology in our cultural life, and how communities are affected by the stories we tell.

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How the Storyteller Guides Us into an Unseen Realm
What Storytelling Means to
Summoning the Realm of Dream
Seeing the Invisible
The Secret Practice
Keeping the Channels of a Culture Open
Through the Storys Terror
The Storyteller in the Modern World
Natural Interruptions
City of Gold
Sudden Story
Deadly Play
Strong Medicine
Monkey Mind
On Listening

A Discourse on a Hassidic Tale
The World of an Epic Singer
Misfortunes Fortune

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About the author (2011)

Laura Simms is an award-winning storyteller, recording artist, teacher, writer and humanitarian based in New York City. The New York Times has called her “a major force in the revival of storytelling in America.” Remarkable performances of traditional stories interwoven with personal narrative have earned her worldwide recognition and honors since 1968. Laura has created an irresistible cutting-edge performance style that bridges ancient oral tradition and performance art. Her storytelling is meaningful and uncannily entertaining for her international audiences. Her warmth, depth of understanding, profound effect on listeners, diverse material, humor, gorgeous voice, and range of characterizations are her trademarks.

Her most recent one-woman show, Mercy into the World, premiered in 2008 at the Barbican Theater in London, University of Oslo, and Frontier Theater in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has performed at venues worldwide, including the Khan Theater in Jerusalem, Royal Festival Hall in London, The Central Theater of Manila, and Victory Theater and Town Hall in New York City. Laura works with international organizations to train teachers and humanitarian workers. She received the Brimstone Award for Engaged Storytelling and is co-faculty with Terry Tempest Williams New Generation Environmental Project. She is the mother of Ishmael Beah, bestselling author of A Long Way Gone. Under a grant from Mercy Corps, Laura twice took her storytelling work to New Orleans for teachers and children in post-Katrina New Orleans. Most recently she began a storytelling project with International Medical Corps in Haiti. Her website is www.laurasimms.com.

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